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RealTime DFS Strategy: Week 7

Fri Oct 18 10:05am ET
By MIKE BARNER
Contributing Writer

Engram poised for big Week 7


With the Browns, Panthers, Steelers and Buccaneers all on a bye for Week 7, we are missing some of the most impactful players in the world of DFS. However, that doesn’t mean there still aren’t a lot of great options to consider. Let’s break down each position and discuss both some players to target and some to keep out of your lineup-making process.

QUARTERBACKS

Top-tier option: Jared Goff, LAR at ATL ($6,100): Goff might not be the most expensive quarterback on the slate, but he’s certainly one of the most appealing ones. Despite compiling just 78 passing yards last week against the 49ers, he can be productive in the right matchup. Case in point, he had 517 passing yards and two touchdowns in Week 4 against a bad Bucs’ secondary. The Falcons have been almost as dreadful, allowing the sixth-most passing yards per game in the league and 15 touchdown passes.

Cheap target: Gardner Minshew II, JAC at CIN ($5,800): I had Minshew here last week, as well, but he flopped with 163 yards and a pick against the Saints. Don’t let one bad performance get you down on Minshew Mania. This is a prime spot for him to bounce back with a great stat line considering the Bengals will likely be without two of their top cornerbacks in Dre Kirkpatrick (knee) and William Jackson (shoulder).

Player to avoid: Teddy Bridgewater, NO at CHI ($5,800): Minshew wasn’t the only quarterback to have a quiet performance in that Saints-Jaguars game. Bridgewater wasn’t as bad, but he finished with only 240 passing yards and one touchdown. He’s thrown for 240 yards or fewer in three of his four starts and has two games with one or no touchdown passes. Facing a Bears’ defense that is one of the stingiest in the league is not the time to deploy Bridgewater in DFS.

RUNNING BACKS

Top-tier option: Leonard Fournette, JAC at CIN ($7,200): The secondary won’t be the only area of concern for the Bengals. They have been chewed up by opposing running backs, allowing the most rushing yards per game and the most rushing touchdowns. Fournette has been a workhorse with 115 carries and 36 targets, leaving him with a tremendously high floor in this matchup.

Cheap target: Devin Singletary, BUF vs. MIA ($5,700): Singletary hasn’t been on the field since going down with a hamstring injury in Week 2. The good news is the bye week seems to have helped him since he’s been listed as a full participant in practice. While he’ll still have to share the workload with Frank Gore, being priced this low makes him a viable target against a Dolphins defense that has allowed the second-most rushing yards per game.

Player to avoid: Melvin Gordon, LAC at TEN ($6,700): It hasn’t been pretty in two games since Gordon returned from his contract holdout. The Chargers have given him 20 carries, but he’s only turned that into 49 yards while failing to find his way into the end zone. Austin Ekeler will continue to steal some snaps from him and the Titans have only allowed three rushing touchdowns this season, so I’m not taking a chance on Gordon at this price. Pay the extra $500 and roll with Fournette.

WIDE RECEIVERS

Top-tier option: Cooper Kupp, LAR at ATL ($7,100): With Goff tanking last week, Kupp had only four catches for 17 yards on six targets. Considering he had at least 101 receiving yards in each of his previous four contests, I’m largely ignoring last week’s dud. With the Falcons’ struggles to defend the pass already detailed, a Rams stack with Goff and Kupp has a great chance to be profitable.

Cheap target: John Brown, BUF vs. MIA ($5,600): The addition of Brown to the Bills’ offense has been seamless so far, catching 28 of 39 targets for 390 yards and a touchdown through five games. He hasn’t received fewer than five targets in any game, reaching at least 10 targets two times. The Dolphins have allowed 14 touchdown passes and the seventh-most passing yards per game, leaving Brown with plenty of upside at this reasonable price.

Player to avoid: Terry McLaurin, WAS vs. SF ($5,600): If there is someone to be excited about on the Redskins, it’s McLaurin. The rookie looks like one of the building blocks for the franchise, posting 23 catches, 408 yards and five touchdowns through five games. However, the 49ers defense has been excellent, resulting in them allowing the fewest passing yards per game. There will be plenty of weeks down the road in which you’ll want to target McLaurin, but this isn’t one of them.

TIGHT ENDS

Top-tier option: Evan Engram, NYG vs. ARI ($5,900): The Giants sorely missed Engram last week against the Patriots. He’s been one of the staples of their offense, posting 33 receptions, 373 receiving yards and two touchdowns across five games. He hasn’t received fewer than seven targets in any contest and should be back this week for a prime matchup against a Cardinals’ defense that has been destroyed by opposing tight ends. No need to overthink this one.

Cheap target: Hunter Henry, LAC at TEN ($5,000): In need of some help in the passing game, the Chargers finally got some relief last week with the return of Henry. He immediately made his presence felt, catching eight of nine targets for 100 yards and two touchdowns. While the two touchdowns will likely be hard to replicate this week, the target share shouldn’t. With that kind of volume, he can provide value at this price.

Player to avoid: Eric Ebron, IND vs. HOU ($4,400): Since we’re talking about volume, now’s a good time to bring up Ebron. He hasn’t been overly involved in the Colts’ offense with only 20 targets through five games. That has resulted in three games in which he caught only one pass. While he’s always a threat in the red zone, having a healthy Jack Doyle will continue to limit his opportunities. Henry has significantly more upside, and while the $600 price difference is nothing to sneeze at, it isn’t large enough to warrant rolling with Ebron.

Mike Barner has been covering fantasy sports since 2007. His work has appeared in Sports Illustrated, Yahoo, SportsLine and RotoWire. Mike was also a finalist for the 2018 FSWA Basketball Writer of the Year award. Follow Mike on Twitter @rotomikebarner.

Player Notes
David Montgomery Nov 14 5:40pm ET

Chicago Bears rookie running back David Montgomery (ankle) and tight ends Trey Burton (calf) and Adam Shaheen (foot) missed practice on Thursday. Montgomery rolled his ankle in practice on Wednesday and could wind up as questionable for Sunday night against the Rams. That will obviously pose a big headache for fantasy owners, but Montgomery is a shaky low-end RB2 even if he does play against an LA defensive front that has been stingy against the run. If he can't get the green light, Tarik Cohen would have RB2 upside. The tight end position has been a fantasy wasteland in Chicago, so Ben Braunecker wouldn't even be appealing if both Burton and Shaheen were inactive Sunday night.

From RotoBaller

Antonio Callaway Nov 14 5:30pm ET

Former Cleveland Browns wide receiver Antonio Callaway is reportedly appealing a 10-game suspension that the NFL handed down earlier in the season. He tested positive for a banned substance after using a CBD edible product in the summer to deal with an ankle injury. Callaway has had several drug-related incidents since declaring for the NFL draft, including a positive test at the combine and a four-game suspension to begin the 2019 season. Cleveland finally gave up on Callaway on Thursday, waiving the former fourth-round draft pick while citing that the receiver had "too many issues." Callaway's appeal with the NFL was heard on Friday and he is still awaiting the NFL's final decision.

From RotoBaller

A.J. Green Nov 14 5:10pm ET

Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green (ankle) remains out of practice on Thursday. Green suffered a setback due to swelling in his ankle last week and remains without a timetable to return. He was getting close to making his season debut, but he now appears unlikely to play in Week 11 against the Raiders. At this point, Green could be put on season-ending Injured Reserve. He's not a lock to help your fantasy team before or during the playoffs, and even if he does return, his upside will be limited on a winless Bengals squad with rookie Ryan Finley at quarterback. Cincy will continue to roll with Tyler Boyd, Auden Tate and Alex Erickson in three-wide sets.

From RotoBaller

Alex Erickson Nov 14 5:10pm ET

Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Alex Erickson (back) returned to a limited practice on Thursday after being held out on Wednesday. Even with A.J. Green (ankle) unlikely to return this weekend, Erickson isn't a recommended fantasy starter in any league as the No. 3 receiver on a winless Bengals team with rookie quarterback Ryan Finley under center. Erickson missed both of his two targets in Week 10 with Finley throwing him the ball. He had a blowup on Oct. 20 against the Jaguars when he went for 137 yards on eight catches, but that was clearly an outlier. You can avoid Erickson unless you're truly desperate.

From RotoBaller

Gerald Everett Nov 14 5:10pm ET

Los Angeles Rams head coach Sean McVay said he expects tight ends Gerald Everett (wrist) and Tyler Higbee (knee) to play on Sunday night against the Bears in Week 11. Everett has had a breakout season in 2019 and has become the preferred pass-catching tight end over Higbee. With Brandin Cooks (concussion) out at least another week, Everett has TE1 appeal this weekend, even in a tough matchup with the Bears Defense looming. Unless Everett gets hurt and misses time, Higbee can be left on the waiver wire in redraft leagues.

From RotoBaller

Amari Cooper Nov 14 4:30pm ET

Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Amari Cooper (ankle, knee) returned to a limited practice on Thursday after being held out on Wednesday. He should do more in practice on Friday and remains on track to play in Week 11 against the Lions. Cooper has battled through several injuries this year but has remained one of the most consistently productive receivers in the NFL. He'll be a high-end WR1 against a Lions secondary that has been one of the most generous units in the league against opposing wide receivers. Cooper is a must-start.

From RotoBaller

Antonio Callaway Nov 14 4:20pm ET

In a surprise move, the Cleveland Browns announced that they waived wide receiver Antonio Callaway on Thursday. Callaway was suspended ahead of the team's Week 10 matchup against the Buffalo Bills for arriving late but he was expected to return for Thursday night's showdown against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Instead, Callaway didn't respond well to the benching, prompting Cleveland to release the 2018 fourth-round draft pick. The Browns will move forward with Rashard Higgins as their No. 3 receiver. Callaway should catch on somewhere as he is regarded as a talented player but he might have to settle for a practice squad spot. Offensive lineman Drew Forbes was activated off of injured reserve to take Callaway's roster spot.

From RotoBaller

Ryan Switzer Nov 14 4:10pm ET

The Pittsburgh Steelers placed wide receiver Ryan Switzer (back) and fullback Roosevelt Nix (knee) on Injured Reserve on Thursday. Switzer injured his back in the Week 10 win over the Rams. In corresponding moves, receiver Tevin Jones and linebacker Jayrone Elliott were added to the active roster. Switzer was more of a special teams guy and had only eight receptions on 11 targets for 27 yards in three games for the Steelers this year. He wasn't even on the fantasy map to begin with.

From RotoBaller

Terry McLaurin Nov 14 4:00pm ET

Washington Redskins interim head coach Bill Callahan said that moving rookie wide receiver Terry McLaurin around more could help get him out of his slump. The impressive rookie is versatile and capable of moving to different spots in the formation. The 24-year-old hasn't found the end zone since Oct. 13 against the Dolphins (twice that day), but it's mainly the team's offense and the quarterback situation holding him back. It hasn't helped matters that rookie Dwayne Haskins is now in charge. The matchup against the Jets couldn't be any better, but McLaurin is still more of a boom-or-bust WR3 for fantasy owners. He has nine catches in the last three games.

From RotoBaller

Adrian Peterson Nov 14 4:00pm ET

Washington Redskins interim head coach Bill Callahan said that running back Adrian Peterson was rested in practice on Thursday, and he'll be fine for Week 11 against the Jets. The 34-year-old has been the bell-cow back since Callahan took over, and he's seen at least 18 carries in three of the last four games, so rest is certainly in order coming out of the bye week. Peterson's floor has been higher in recent weeks, but that will change with Derrius Guice (knee) returning this Sunday to an expected big workload. AD will still have a role, but he's back to being a low-upside RB3/flex in deeper leagues.

From RotoBaller

Tim Patrick Nov 14 3:50pm ET

Denver Broncos wide receiver Tim Patrick (hand) is expected to be activated from the Injured Reserve this week to play in Week 11 against the Vikings. Cornerback Bryce Callahan (foot) is expected to go on IR in a corresponding move. Patrick came on strong at the end of last year after the Broncos traded Demaryius Thomas, but that's unlikely to happen again to close the 2019 season with either inexperienced quarterback Brandon Allen or rookie Drew Lock at the helm. Denver's low-upside offense just can't really support another fantasy relevant receiver behind Courtland Sutton right now. Patrick is only a stash candidate in dynasty leagues.

From RotoBaller

George Kittle Nov 14 3:50pm ET

San Francisco 49ers tight end George Kittle (ankle, knee), wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders (ribs) and kicker Robbie Gould (quadriceps) all missed practice for the second straight day this week on Thursday. It's looking like Kittle and Gould will miss their second straight game, while Sanders is doubtful after injuring his ribs on Monday night. Even in a great matchup, it'll make quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo one to fade if he's missing his top receiving targets. Rookie Deebo Samuel will have WR2 upside if both Kittle and Sanders sit out. We wouldn't recommend backup tight end Ross Dwelley or kicker Chase McLaughlin as deep league streamers.

From RotoBaller

Adam Thielen Nov 14 3:40pm ET

Minnesota Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer said that wide receiver Adam Thielen (hamstring) has a chance to play in Week 11 against the Broncos despite the fact that he hasn't practiced yet this week. We'll believe it if Thielen returns to practice on Friday, but even then he'll likely be a long shot, especially with the chance to rest up even more during the Week 12 bye. If you own Thielen, you should be expecting him to sit again this weekend. Stefon Diggs has been shut down the last two weeks with Thielen hobbled, and that could continue this Sunday against Chris Harris Jr. and company. Olabisi Johnson is second on the depth chart, but he's a dice roll for fantasy production behind Diggs.

From RotoBaller

San Francisco 49ers Nov 14 3:30pm ET

The San Francisco 49ers Defense eliminated any doubts about their weekly fixture in fantasy lineups by recording five sacks, four turnovers and one touchdown against the vaunted Seattle Seahawks in Week 10. Theyre pitted against another division rival in Week 11 versus the Arizona Cardinals. Cardinals rookie quarterback Kyler Murray surprisingly diced up the Niners in their Week 9 matchup, limiting the defense to their only turnover-free game of 2019. Even with Murrays ascension, the season-long havoc the Niners have wreaked make them a must-start. With the leagues best pass rush and Arizonas porous offensive line, fire up the unit with confidence.

From RotoBaller

Deebo Samuel Nov 14 3:10pm ET

The moment could be now for San Francisco 49ers rookie wide receiver Deebo Samuel. With tight end George Kittle (knee, ankle) and wideout Emmanuel Sanders (ribs) banged up in Week 10, Samuel drew a season-high 11 targets, converting them into eight grabs and 112 yards. With both Kittle and Sanders likely to miss Week 11s tilt against the Arizona Cardinals, Samuel is a plug-and-play WR3. Samuel possesses an intriguing speed and burst combination in the 80th percentile and ranks ninth in the NFL with an 86 percent catchable target rate. Although hes battled consistency this season, Samuel has a golden opportunity to embrace the lead dog role against a Cardinals pass defense ranked 26th in DVOA.

From RotoBaller

Jack Doyle Nov 14 2:20pm ET

Indianapolis Colts tight end Jack Doyle (shoulder) is back at practice on Thursday after sitting out on Wednesday. Doyle should be able to play this weekend in Week 11 against the Jaguars. He has scored in back-to-back weeks but has only 66 yards receiving in that timeframe and has his upside limited while sharing snaps with teammate Eric Ebron. However, Doyle will have more TE2 streaming appeal if T.Y. Hilton (calf) misses another game this weekend with quarterback Jacoby Brissett (knee) expected to return.

From RotoBaller

T Y Hilton Nov 14 2:20pm ET

Indianapolis Colts wide receiver T.Y. Hilton (calf) wasn't spotted at practice on Thursday for the second straight day this week. Hilton has a chance to return in Week 11 against the Jaguars, but he'll likely need to get in at least a limited practice on Friday since he hasn't played since getting injured in Week 8. As of right now, you should be planning to be without him for another week. Zach Pascal has been the best bet at wideout for the Colts with Hilton out, with Chester Rogers and Marcus Johnson filling out three-receiver sets. Indy should continue to lean on their ground game with running back Marlon Mack if Hilton remains sidelined. The good news for Pascal owners is that quarterback Jacoby Brissett (knee) is expected back after missing Week 10.

From RotoBaller

Dawson Knox Nov 14 2:20pm ET

Buffalo Bills rookie tight end Dawson Knox (knee) was held out of practice on Thursday due to a sore knee, but head coach Sean McDermott expects Knox to return to practice on Friday and be fine for Week 11 against the Dolphins. Knox has shown some potential in his first year in the NFL and he has an excellent matchup in Miami this Sunday, but the youngster is still a low-end, touchdown-dependent TE2 in a Bills offense led by inconsistent quarterback Josh Allen.

From RotoBaller

Marquise Brown Nov 14 2:10pm ET

Baltimore Ravens rookie wide receiver Marquise Brown (ankle) was absent from practice on Thursday after being limited on Wednesday. Brown could be truly questionable for Week 11 against the Texans, so his status on Friday is one to watch. He had a good game in Week 10 against the winless Bengals despite playing limited snaps, so the downfield speedster is truly a boom-or-bust WR3 in his rookie season on limited chances this year. He does have a good matchup against Houston's secondary if he plays, but he could come down to a game-time decision. Tight end Mark Andrews would have a higher ceiling as an elite TE1 if Brown misses this weekend. Baltimore's other receivers haven't proven fantasy relevant when Brown has missed time this year.

From RotoBaller

Adrian Peterson Nov 14 2:10pm ET

Washington Redskins running back Adrian Peterson (toe) is not practicing on Thursday after being limited on Wednesday. It's a downgrade for AD, but the Redskins could just be resting the veteran with the season entering the second half. After all, interim head coach Bill Callahan has been riding Peterson hard since he took over. Even if Peterson plays, he'll have a lower ceiling as an RB3/flex with Derrius Guice (knee) expected to have a big role for the first time since suffering a knee injury in the season opener. The two running backs could easily cannibalize each other on a low-scoring Redskins offense led by shaky rookie quarterback Dwayne Haskins. Stay away if you can. Guice would obviously have more RB3 appeal if Peterson is out or limited.

From RotoBaller